16 Laundry Hacks That Make Wash Day So Much Easier

Less time doing laundry and more timing doing, well, anything else: that's the goal of these savvy laundry hacks from our editors.

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Most of us don't love doing laundry. Yet that pile of dirty towels that need to be washed never seems to stop. While laundry is inevitable, some simple tips and tricks can make your life a little easier. Our editors have a long, idiosyncratic list of tricks, favorite products, and smart organizing ideas for laundry day. We asked them for the best laundry hacks and tips they use regularly to make this household chore more manageable. Whether you opt for a pool noodle to get rid of creases or dry-erase reminders about what needs to be air-dried, little adjustments can make the biggest difference. Put our editors' advice to work on the trouble spots in your laundry routine.

washer and dryer in corner
Kritsada Panichgul

1. Eliminate Creases with a Pool Noodle

Air-drying clothes on a rack is a great option when you need to avoid the hot heat of a dryer. But the unsightly lines created by your drying rack can be frustrating. Here's a laundry hack that's easy and affordable. Take a basic pool noodle, make a cut along one side, and slide it onto your rack. Bye-bye, creases!

2. Make a DIY Spot Treater

You probably have the makings for this DIY spot treatment in your kitchen cabinets. Simply grab some baking soda and white vinegar. "For grease and makeup marks, I pretreat with a sprinkle of baking soda followed by a few drops of white vinegar," says home editor Samantha Hart. "Let it sit for a bit, then wash like normal."

3. Use Aluminum Foil If You're Out of Dryer Sheets

So you've finished washing your clothes, but you're fresh out of dryer sheets. Look to your kitchen cabinets. Aluminum foil can be bundled up and used as a dryer sheet for up to six months.

4. Defeat Grass Stains

With kids, grass stains are an everyday occurrence, but getting these stains out is doable. "It has been around for a hundred years (literally), but Fels-Naptha laundry bar ($8, Amazon) was the only thing that would get grass stains out of my son Walt's baseball uniform," says features editor Diana Dickinson. "It's also supposed to help poison ivy, although I've never tried it for that." Try this stain-removing product next time you encounter a grass stain that just won't come out.

5. Use a Dry-Erase Marker to Remember Items

Preserve delicate items with a friendly reminder. Use a dry-erase marker directly on your washing machine to make a list of clothing that needs to be removed for air-drying. Simply wipe away when finished. Or hang a dry-erase board near your washer if you are worried about smearing your notes.

organized corner of laundry room
Marty Baldwin

6. Create a Do-Not-Dry Alert

An easy laundry hack to avoid shrinking clothes is to place items in a sweater bag in the wash. "If something must be line-dried, I put it in a zippered sweater bag before it goes in the hamper so whoever transfers the laundry knows the item can't go in the dryer," says editor Karman Hotchkiss. "The bags are easy to spot so I don't worry that when someone else does the laundry they will shrink a key item."

7. Place Soap in Dispensers for Mess-Free Storage

Keep laundry detergent safely out of reach from children with wall-mounted soap dispensers. They can be easily refilled while keeping your countertops clutter-free. Keep a hand towel nearby to wipe up any drips from the dispenser's spout. Placing a small tray or dish underneath the spout can also help with drainage.

8. Prevent Color Runs

If you're not one to separate clothes by colors, try this tip for preventing your colors from running together. "Shout Color Catchers ($9, Amazon) are magical little sheets that keep dye from transferring," says home editor Kit Selzer. "You can actually see the color it absorbs when the wash is done. I've taught my kids to put one in every load—just in case."

9. Use a Mesh Bag to Organize Socks

If losing socks, especially small little kid socks, happens often in your home, try this laundry hack: put socks in a mesh bag. Delicate bags aren't only for delicates; by putting socks into these bags when throwing them in the wash, they're less likely to get lost. Clip a mesh bag directly onto everyone's hampers so socks can be collected as soon as they come off.

10. Make Clothes Dry Faster

To help clothes dry quicker, try shaking out some of the excess water. "I always shake out damp items when forwarding them from washer to dryer," says home editor Brian Kramer. "Mom and Gram swore it opened up the fabric and made it dry faster with fewer wrinkles." You can also speed up drying time by throwing a dry towel into a load of wet clothes for the first 15 minutes of the drying cycle.

modern bathroom with stacked washing machine and dryer
Laurie Black

11. Consider a Countertop Hamper

Hampers aren't the only option for collecting laundry. "I keep a basket on a shelf on my kitchen island to serve as a mini hamper for dish towels and cloth napkins so I can tote that laundry to the washer all at once," says executive editor Oma Ford. This laundry hack keeps dirty kitchen towels organized and makes bringing them to the laundry room a fast process.

12. Install a Towel Bar for Hanging Space

A towel bar makes use of spare wall space for hanging wet clothes. Be sure to install it high enough so dresses and pants don't hit the floor when hung. Metal works better than wood and won't get damaged when it gets wet. For even more storage, look for a towel rack with multiple rungs.

13. Dry-Clean at Home

Some dry-clean-only garments can be washed at home. "When I went to college, my aunt gifted me Dryel—an at-home stand-in for dry cleaning—and I remain devoted," says home editor Katy Kiick Condon. "Zip garments into the 2x2-foot bag with a wet Dryel sheet, toss in the dryer, and voilà, clothes emerge fresh and wrinkle-free." By doing your dry-cleaning at home, you'll save a ton of time and money.

14. Make Folding Simple with Cardboard

Folding clothes goes faster with a little help. Get kids involved in folding by creating a cardboard template. The template should help fold sleeves in first, followed by folding the bottom of the shirt upwards. If you'd rather not make your own, there are plenty of plastic ones you can shop from online.

15. Organize Your Hamper

When all your laundry gets thrown into a single hamper, it's likely that items that shouldn't be washed together, get washed together. To prevent this, get a hamper with multiple compartments. Designate each space for a different type of clothing, whether that be lights, darks, jeans, delicates, etc.

16. Use Ice Cubes to Dewrinkle

If you forget about your clothes in the dryer, they can easily become wrinkled, and in a time pinch, there isn't time to iron the clothes. Instead try this laundry hack: Toss a few ice cubes in with the clothes and run a quick-drying cycle. Now your clothes will be wrinkle-free.

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